It seems like the 2009 baseball season flew by. Unfortunately, Columbia County did not have another state title crown to add to the trophy case, but there was plenty to be proud of.
As always, the county produced playoff teams. As a matter of fact, all four public school teams played in the state playoffs this year. Lakeside (24-7-1) and Evans (24-9) advanced to the state AAAA quarterfinals, while Greenbrier (23-7) fell in round two in AAAAA and Harlem (21-6) was knocked out in the opening round.
Each team had its moments this spring. In all, the quartet combined for a 92-29-1 record. That mark is even more impressive when you throw out the games where they beat up on each other. The county teams were a sizzling 80-17-1 versus non-county foes. Keep in mind that two of the four county teams had first-year head coaches, too.
When county teams went heads up, Evans claimed the best mark. The Knights were 4-2 versus county rivals. Lakeside and Greenbrier were 3-3, and Harlem was 2-4. Lakeside, however, claimed the region crown ahead of Evans and Harlem in Region 3-AAAA. The Panthers also were ranked sixth in the last regular-season AAAA state baseball poll.
We had an array of talented players. So many, in fact, that picking an All-County team is going to be a major chore. So Stephen and I will have our hands full sifting through statistics and replaying games in our heads during the next few weeks.
Former Greenbrier star Jeff Rowland has been named to the All-ACC First Team this season. The speedy Georgia Tech center fielder was tremendous all season for the Yellow Jackets. He is also good at the plate.
For the season he is hitting .361 with nine homers and 34 RBI. He also leads Tech with 58 runs scored, has 12 doubles, four triples and 18 stolen bases. Rowland has been at the top of the Jackets' lineup all season, and has been a major reason for the team's 34-16-1 record and a No. 13 national ranking.
The Jackets dropped Game 1 of the ACC Baseball Tournament 8-6 to Miami on Wednesday. Rowland did his part, going 3-5 with two RBI and a run scored.
University of Georgia first baseman and former Greenbrier star Rich Poythress has had a sensational season. The slugger has been rewarded for his accomplishments by being named First Team All-SEC. He also was named to the All-Defensive Team.
For the season, Poythress has 21 homers and 77 RBI. He finished second to Alabama star Kent Mathess in voting for the conference player of the year. Poythress and the Bulldogs won their opener in the SEC Tournament, beating Ole Miss 6-3.
Nolan Belcher was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team last week. The talented lefty is 4-3 on the season with a 4.99 ERA. However, his ERA was 4.60 in SEC games, which was good for 12th best among conference pitchers.
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